Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Mooo Is the OFW

Just recently, Home Development Mutual Fund or better known as PAG-IBIG Fund announced its mandatory membership of all OFWs. It was welcomed enthusiastically, so they say, by our kababayans based in Hong Kong, if you’re to believe Noli DeCastro.

This is good if you want to avail of its benefits in order to acquire your dream house or send your children to college. But there is a catch to it. You should be at least a member for 24 months* before you may apply for a loan. That means you should pay your monthly contribution for 2 years without default prior to filling out those mortgage forms. My question is; how long is an ordinary employee’s contract last here in the Middle East? One year? Two years? After that, how will he/she be able to pay the loan’s monthly amortization if he can’t renew his contract? It is good if his employed with a renewable contract, but that’s not the case for the majority of our OFWs.

One of their “selling point”, as one PAG-IBIG official explained in TFC, is; for a mere monthly contribution of P100, your investment will be returned to you after 20 years (including interest) amounting to P40,000. At first glance that seems good. If you save the money yourself, your P100 will be P1200 in one year or P24,000 in 20 years. A smaller figure compared to the dividend PAG-IBIG will give you. But if we apply the Law of Diminishing Returns, factor in the Philippine’s economic health for the next 20 years (which is bleak in my point of view), your P40,000 then will probably amounts to P20,000 or less of its present monetary value. Lugi ka pa! You’ll fair better if you put your money in a “sari-sari” store and see it double up in one year.

But I believe PAG-IBIG’s think-tank sees it differently. Your monthly dole out of P100, if pooled together, is no chicken feed. With the 3 million work force based in the Middle East alone, the total collectibles of PAG-IBIG in one month will sum up to P300 million plus or P3.6 billion in one year. A lot of money to be invested in some other money-making projects. If, for example, they put it in a low-risk, 5% interest venture, they’ll have a rate of return enough to build 300 units of low-cost housing per year. But not enough to pay the bonuses and incentives of PAG-IBIG executives and employees which, according to COA’s 2008 report, amounts to P258 million** plus.

I’m not saying that being a member is not a good idea. As I said before, it helps those OFWs who really need its benefits. What I’m trying to point out is PAG-IBIG membership SHOULD NOT BE MANDATORY because there are OFWs who doesn’t rely in government assistance when it comes to “housing” or educational plan. Walang pinag-iba yan sa life insurance na binabayaran natin taon-taon sa OWWA even though we are already insured by our employers and by the host country we work in. It doesn’t benefit some of us at all. Napupunta lang sa kaban ng gobyerno or worst, it might end up in someone’s pocket.

* http://www.pagibigfund.gov.ph/benefits&programs.htm
** http://www.coa.gov.ph/Audit/AAR.htm


  1. agree ako dyan bro na hindi dapat mandatory. para meron akong nabasa na even SSS ay gagawin mandatory na rin. wow moooo nga talaga tayo. the problem is bungi or di aupdate ang payment mo sa SSS you cant avail such benefits. yun lang nasa Phil p ako. yung co namin ang nadedlay , coz quarterly hirap ako mag loan.

    Ok n yung optional. para sa mga siguradong matagalan sa mga co nila.

  2. Obviously, the government is trying to source out funds. Granted that they actually act in good faith, this should have became mandatory ages ago, especially before the financial crisis.

    Re: your computation, yes, I agree. But for me, it's not just a question of the present value of money. But the possibility that they will amend HDMF's rules for the OFWs'disadvantage, after they've pooled in the funds.

  3. LifeMoto, that's what I think their hoping. Mag ka-default ka sa contribution para sa kanila na ang pera mo.

    Ms.Jo, your scenario is much bleaker than mine. But I think your right. They obviously need fresh funding. If you scrutinize COA's report, you'll see that some building contractors defaulted on their loans from Pag-Ibig amounting to billions of pesos. Ewan ko lang kung kasama dyan yung isang tumatakbo.

  4. Can an OFW get his contributions back if his contract is not renewed? Can he still borrow money from the fund after contributing to it for more than 24 months if he is no longer employed? Why the mandatory requirement? Your cartoon says it all!

  5. gatas na gatas nga ang dating ng ginagawa nila. parang panggigipit ang ginagawa nilang MANDATORY. bakit hindi optional? bakit kailangang gawing mandatory ang pagbibigay ng contributions? ofws na naman ang napagiskitahan ng mga bwakanginang mga yan.

  6. nothing should be mandatory since you always have your way of multiplying your own money and spending it.

  7. parang spam sa internet na lumalabas ang idea para makakuha ng fund...lapit na kasi ang eleksyon.huwag po! huwag po! naman gawing mandatory. may kanya kanyang style at desisyon ang bawat ofw.

    iniisip ko lang kasi kung pagbabasihan, kaya kasing bayaran ng ofw ang halaga ng 24months ng isang hulugan. palagay ko yun ang target nila.

  8. I agree with you, we are the milking cow of this government, niluluto tayo sa sarili nating mantika.

    Insurances, health plans and home mutual funds should be made VOLUNTARY to Overseas Workers.

  9. Your caricature speaks for itself. The cow should, in fact, be more emaciated than that sa dami ng kinakaltas nila sa mga OFWs.

    The first thing I asked when I learned about it is what's in it for me? Sa ngayon wala akong makitang dahilan. But just the same, mapipilitan pa rin akong mgbayad dahil I'm sure isasama nila yan sa mga iba pang bayarin pagkuha natin ng departure docs sa POEA.

    And based from experience, laging hirap ang mga OFWs sa pagkuha nila ng benefits kapag kinailangan na like in OWWA or Philhealth. I'm sure the same will be of Pag-ibig.

  10. no objection your honor. sadly, captured member kami dito eh. oh well, we just have to make the most of it kaya may loan ako sa pag-ibig hehehe.

  11. Sana naman ayusin na nila ang patakaran nila sa Pag-ibig, although it helps a lot esp for us na andito sa Pinas, minsan kasi patagalan pa para makakuha ng benefits. And I agree with you, dapat hindi mandatory.

  12. bertN, that's the questions I'm going to ask if there will be some kind of "ask-and-tell" forum with pag-ibig.

    ardyey, dapat imbitahan nina TJ at Micky ang pag-ibig para magisa ng ofw.

  13. donG, true, its not their money! It's ours, we should decide how we spend it!

    ever, yan talaga ang nasa isip nila kung babasihan mo ang sinabi ni Wits&Nuts. E "lump sum" ang singil, sabay takbo!

  14. Pope, okay lang yung life insurance at health plans. At the onset nandyan na yan. Pero ang pabahay? E merong OFW na gusto lang mag-rent ng apartment. : )

    nebz, meron atang me "gangsta mentality" dyan sa gobyerno. Ipapasok yan sa mga importanteng papeles bago makalabas ng bansa, para hindi ka makahirit.

  15. Lawstude, yan nga ang mahirap eh. hindi pantay ang tingin ng gobyerno. Gawin nilang mandatory sa lahat ng mamayan, hindi lang ofw. Tingnan lang natin kung hindi magkagulo.

    sheng, like in any government social agency, pahirapan palagi ang pagkuha ng benepisyo. Pero mabilis pa sa alas-kwatro pag dating sa singilan!

  16. Thanks for doing the Math for me, Mr. BlogusVox! I haven't heard about it (mandatory membership), actually; ...happy to read it from The Sandbox.

    How great and lovely is the name of this government agency- PAG-IBIG! Very meaningful. Based on what you've written however, it's very ironic. This isn't a good Valentine gift from Pag-ibig.

    Very nice illustration. Galing! U

  17. As usual, the government wants its share of the OFWs' hard-earned savings. Given that the peso continually loses value, I suggest that you will be better off saving your money in US dollars. With that, you preserve your money's purchasing power. I don't recommend participating in this program. I don't believe that it should be mandatory because it denies people the RIGHT TO CHOOSE AND DECIDE what directions are appropriate for them given their goals in life.

    It is unfortunate that to this day, many in our government remain so unenlightened. Old habits truly die hard. They still treat us citizens as property rather than individuals whose rights deserve to be respected.

  18. RJ, if only we could all bond together to repel this scam!

    Panaderos, your right pards. I've learned my lesson after I lost some savings when the dollar dips a couple of years back. And yes, they still think as if we are a monarchy and everyone is a subject.

  19. Im quite hesitant to apply, coz when I was in Pinas, I tried to activate my account since I left the govt service and joined the private sector. Unfortunately, I did not able to revive my contributions. Baka ngayon, maganda na ang processing ng papers and even individual contributions are already accepted. Ang habol ko talaga dito ay ang pabahay kasi maaring isabay sa bank financing.